Friday, November 14, 2008

...Winter Can Be Cozy...

Not that it's winter...I think it's like 60 degrees here today.

Last night's dinner:

Taco Soup
2 lbs Ground Beef
1 chopped Onion
2-14oz cans diced Tomatoes
1 can Rotell
1 can Corn
1 can Pinto beans
1 can Small Red Beans
1 pouch Taco Seasoning
3 cans Beef Broth
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
1 small jar chopped Jalapenos (optional)

Brown ground beef and onion; drain. Add all other ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes or more. Sprinkle each bowl with shredded cheese (I used Mexican 4-cheese) and add a small dollop of sour cream.

We were starving by the time 30 minutes had passed, so I served up our bowls and let the rest simmer through dinner and clean-up. Dave liked it so much that he had me invite Matt and Jenna over for dinner tonight so he could have it again. That's 2 dinners last night, 4 dinners tonight, and I expect to have enough left for two or three lunches.

Monday, November 10, 2008

...How It's Going to End

Well, after six years of Halloween Havoc, it has finally come to an end. We held the party once again this year, but due to our impending move, as well as certain people's behavior, this has definitely been the last one.

The best part of the party was that we took a small amount of our wedding gift money and bought Rich a plane ticket to fly up from Tulsa, OK. We picked him up at the airport on Friday, and he was able to spend the whole weekend with us!

As far as the party itself, I can only really remember the bad parts. Turtle** destroye
d Ira's costume, nearly started a fight with a bunch of our friends, and completely trashed our downstairs bathroom, including throwing up in the bathtub (really fun to clean up!) and breaking the shower door handle. Ira sideswiped Rooster's** car on his way out of the driveway. Two groups of people almost got into a fight because someone apparently yelled racial slurs at one of our friends. I finally had to tell the last people to leave, friends of friends that I had never met before, because two of them busted into the guestroom intent on having sex in what was Rich's bed for the weekend. The worst part was that someone stole Dave's iPod, completely disrespecting us and our hospitality.

Every year, the party got a little bit more out of hand, but at least everyone got along and maintained a certain level of respect for our property, as their hosts. It's sad that the people I remember as being the worst behaved were some of my closest friends.

**Gotta love our friends' nicknames!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

...Never Enough...

On Thursday, 23 October, Matt, Jenna, Tommy and I headed over to the Fillmore at Irving Plaza in NYC for Bury Your Dead, In This Moment, and Five Finger Death Punch. Haha, gotta love the names of the bands we see! Jenna picked this show, and the rest of us didn't really know the bands very well. Only Matt had ever been to the Filmore before, so between the unknown bands and the unfamiliar venue, we had no idea what we were getting into.

Jenna decided to drive, so after work Tommy drove to her house, then they picked me up at my house, and we all went up to Matt's job to pick him up. From there, we hopped on the Palisades Parkway and headed for the city. We hit traffic at the toll for the George Washington Bridge, as always. There was a dog in the car next to us, so Tommy started barking at it, and got the dog barking, too. Then, we heard another dog answering from our other side. The two dogs just kept going until finally the one next to us got yelled at by his owner. We all felt bad for getting him in trouble, haha.

We finally crossed the George Washington Bridge and headed down the West Side Highway. We all were a little confused with the directions, but finally found the place, and managed to find a parking garage right around the corner.

The Fillmore was built in 1914, and has existed as a ballroom, nightclub, boxing venue, Polish dance hall, veterans' club, and who knows what else. There is a bar and lounge area on the first floor, along with the restrooms, but the main venue is on the second floor. A stage dominates one end, with a bar along the opposite wall, and a large open area in between. Up another set of stairs is another bar with lounge area, and a balcony that overlooks the second floor. Overall, the Fillmore feels small and intimate, but not cramped. We had no problem moving through the crowd, and there were many great vantage points.

We arrived just as Bury Your Dead was taking the stage. I had never heard of the band, but they were high energy and engaging, and we liked them before they even played a note. The music was heavy, the vocals were screaming, but mostly understandable. The lead singer climbed speakers and stood on high platforms, playing for the balcony crowd as well as the main floor.

In This Moment was a little disappointing. They are Jenna's favorite band, and while they were tight, I found the lead singer a bit whiny. This wasn't very surprising, as I believe that's the main reason why there aren't many female metal singers out there. Matt and Jenna moved up front, but Tommy and I hung out in the back.

Finally, Five Finger Death Punch came on. The crowd went berserk, and the entire floor became a gigantic circle pit. We were able to stay right on the edge of it and have a clear view of the stage without getting hit by anyone. At one point, two friends in front of us got into an argument, and the one guy threw his friend right into the pit, where he immediately got clobbered. Five Finger was excellent, heavy and deep, growling at us. We all really enjoyed the show, and definitely wanted more when it was over. On the way home, we all agreed the the Fillmore was our new favorite venue.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

...We've Had Some Times...

We got back from our honeymoon in Curacao on Saturday night, relaxed on Sunday, went to work on Monday, and then had tickets for a concert Monday night. Matt, Jenna, Tommy, Dave and I met up after work and headed over to Roseland Ballroom to see Thrice, Alkaline Trio, and Rise Against.

We were all looking forward to seeing Thrice, and were slightly disappointed by their set list. Almost everything they played was new, and though Tommy, Matt, and I knew the songs, they weren't what we would have preferred to hear. They were tight and technical, just as we expected, and Dave said he enjoyed it very much.

Alkaline Trio was probably the worst band I have ever heard perform live. When making that statement, I'm including cover bands, teenage bands on tiny stages at Warped Tour, and random original bands playing in dive bars for ten drunks. The lead-singer was completely off-key, and all of the instruments seemed to be out of tune. Jenna was literally covering her ears during their set.

Rise Against was amazing. They played a long set, probably forty-five minutes or so, and we heard nearly every song that we wanted to. The high point of the night was when they did "Swing Life Away." How many couples can say they heard their wedding song performed live? How many of those people saw it just over a week after their wedding? It was great. I'm really glad Dave decided to come to that show with us. It's rare that he goes to our concerts, since the music is not at all what he's in to.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

...Spend Some Time Together...

Monday morning, Dave's dad picked up Dave and I and drove us to JFK airport. The flight to Miami was on a very large plane, and was completely packed. We had a couple of hour layover where we wandered around the terminal and ate some excellent Pizza Hut from an airport stand. The airline had overbooked the flight to Curacao and were offering huge deals to stay in Miami until the following day, but our stay had already been paid for so we couldn't wait. We arrived in Curacao just after dark and were loaded up onto a bus to the resort, along with many other honeymooning couples. We could barely see anything through the bus'** windows, and so didn't have any idea of the layout or scenery of the island.

When we arrived at the hotel, we approached the counter to check in, unsure of the language that would be spoken here. I have a good enough grasp of Spanish to get by, but Curacao is a Dutch island, a language I know nothing about. It turned out that nearly every employee of the hotel spoke English, Spanish, and Dutch, and it was no problem communicating to get checked in. We paid the extra fee for a room safe, and deposited our wallets and passports there. I think I only carried my wallet with me one other time during the entire trip. The room was clean, but felt rather bare, with white tile floors, a queen-sized bed, and a small couch and chair set. It was also an efficiency room, with a little stove and refrigerator, and built in table with chairs. We had paid a little bit extra to have an ocean-front room, and that's exactly what we were given, except that there was a giant trapeze net between the balcony and the actual ocean. It didn't allow for a great view, but at least there was somewhere of our own to sit outside. The bathroom was rather large, with a big shower that could easily fit more than one person (wink). We were starving after a long day of traveling with very little food, so we dropped our bags and headed to the dinner buffet.

At first, we were hesitant to try the food. Everything was scary looking, and it included many items that weren't labeled or that we had never heard of. We both ate only a little bit that night, but every single thing was very good, and we agreed to try everything they had the next day. We picked up a couple of drinks from the bar next to the main pool, crowded with drinkers and children, and went for a walk around the resort. It consisted of many smaller buildings, with many rooms setup motel-style, centrally located around a courtyard with no balconies or ocean views. There were cages sprinkled throughout the grounds filled with large tropical birds and turtles. A breakwater of huge stones and coral had been made around a large area of beach, creating a calm lagoon between the sand and the actual ocean. The beach was deserted, so we lounged around on the chairs for a little while, staring up at the moon and chatting. Then we continued our tour, and found another hotel building at the opposite end of the resort. It was three stories high and u-shaped, with a large rectangular swimming pool in the center. The pool was also deserted, and we agreed to go get our bathing suits on and go for a swim. It took longer to walk back and get changed than we had anticipated, but there was still no one at the pool when we returned. We had a leisurely swim together in the warm water, then headed back to our room and collapsed for the night.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up with a full-blown sinus infection. We were on our honeymoon in a foreign country where the weather was gorgeous, and I was miserable. Over the next four days, we lounged on the beautiful beach, went for many swims in the crystal clear pool and even warmer ocean, kayaked, ate and drank. It's all basically a blur of congestion, heat, and sun. At one point, we walked a ways to a sea aquarium, which was fun, and one afternoon we took a cab to the nearby city of Willemstad to look around. Otherwise, we just hung around at the hotel and relaxed. I tried so hard to stay upbeat, but it was difficult when I felt so terrible. Dave told me over and over again that he didn't mind; he had only planned to relax anyway. :-(

**I actually had to look up whether the possessive of bus should be bus' or bus's. In the end, there is disagreement over which is actually correct, so they are both accepted.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Get By Just Fine...

We made our way back down the aisle and up the walkway to the side door of the country club. Brian caught up to us to give back my bouquet (oops!), and then Dave and I loaded into a golf cart with the photographer to drive over to the edge of the hill for more pictures. The day was actually too sunny, and it was not easy to get good shots, so we didn't end up taking very many. Once again, we loaded back into the cart, and made our way up to the country club in time to enjoy the majority of the cocktail hour, just as we'd planned.

We walked in the side door, and I was immediately accosted by one of the djs wanting to confirm some of the entrance music and wedding party names. Dave headed inside, and I finished with her as quickly as I could, then made my way towards the party. I couldn't get past the entrance, though, as people came up to hug me and say hello. It felt like there were so many people there, and everyone wanted to talk to me at once! It was hard to give each person the time that they deserved, but that was why we had made sure to attend the cocktail hour, to free ourselves up to really enjoy the entire evening. After quite a while, I found Dave again, and we made the rounds of his family members together. Unfortunately, they were the only people who just didn't seem to be having fun. We did the best we could to be friendly and they were definitely excited to see the two of us, but as soon as we walked away, they all just sat there looking miserable again. We had agreed not to dwell on their attitudes, so we took it in stride and continued to visit with the rest of the guests.

In what seemed like no time, the maitre d' (who resembled Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse) began calling all of our guests to find their place cards and their seats. People were very slow to move into the reception room, and eventually we actually had to go around and personally ask people to head inside. We all lined up for our introductions, and waited for the djs to call our names. Dave had chosen each party member's entrance music, and none of them knew his choices. They were all very surprised, and each one of them was laughing as they walked in, exactly as he had planned. Finally, we made our entrance to the theme from Mad About You, and had our first dance. The song we chose was "Swing Life Away" by Rise Against. That's not really a band whose music you would expect to hear at a wedding, but that's an acoustic song that we really enjoyed, and it fit perfectly. My father chose "Times of Your Life" to dance to with me, and then Dave and his mother danced to "You Are My Sunshine."

Brian gave a wonderful toast, and then Dave's father gave his best man's speech. It was very funny and touching, as he related stories from Dave's childhood, and then our relationship together. The highlight was when he held up the ring boxes from our wedding bands and told everyone they could be thrown away because they'd never hold rings again, and then tossed them out into the crowd, where they narrowly missed Swanny's head and knocked over his drink. Finally, all of the formalities were over, and it was time to party!

Because we had greeted everyone during the cocktail hour, Dave and I were free to enjoy ourselves for the reception. He spent nearly the entire night on the dance floor, while I danced for a little while, then spoke to guests, then danced some more, etc. At one point, someone grabbed me to say that there were fireworks outside. A bunch of us headed out onto the porch, where we saw that someone was shooting off a fireworks display from the area that where we had taken pictures. None of us had anything to do with planning it, so we were pretty confused! It turns out that one of the members of the country club who lives nearby had heard there was a wedding, and he had sent someone out there to put on a show for us. It was beautiful and unexpected, and made the night even more special.

All too soon, people began to leave. The night went so fast for Dave and I that we thought people hadn't had fun and were leaving because of it, but afterwards everyone assured us that they had a great time. Friends of my parents enjoyed themselves so much that they've told us it was the best wedding they ever attended every time they've seen us since! Our wedding musicians said they had never seen such scenery at any of the weddings where they worked.

We invited anyone who wanted to come back to our suite for an after party, and many people made it over. My friends, Dave's Dad's friends, and my parents' friends all mingled and drank together, wandering in and out of our hotel room. One of my favorite memories is of sitting at the bottom of the stairs in front of the hotel with Jenna, Matt, and Tommy, all hugging each other to keep warm. Jenna was sick from drinking, Tommy was drunk enough to be bordering on incoherent, and I was sober. We were all telling each other how much we loved each other, and how glad we were to all be friends, when another hotel guest came out of his room to make a call on his cell phone. Tommy kept screaming at him that we were cold and he was out there in white shorts, haha, though he has no memory of doing it. The last person finally left our room at around 4:30am, and we finally went to sleep.

That Sunday, we had breakfast with whoever was still at the hotel, and then killed some time before heading over to my Uncle Mike's cabin for a barbecue with my family. We
were able to spend a few hours there, and got to have plenty of quality time with my aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and brother. Knowing that we would have that time with them also allowed us to enjoy the wedding reception even more, since we didn't have to worry that we wouldn't get to see my out-of-town family members. Then we headed home to spend an overnight with the puppies, before hopping on a plane to Curacao for our honeymoon.

In many ways, our wedding was perfect. The setting could not have been better, and it meant so much to me to be married in the Catskills. All of our friends and family were happy and friendly (ok, so maybe not ALL), and there were no arguments or bad feelings between anyone. Everything went as planned, which is great considering how much time and effort went into planning!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Tribe Went Down...

The procession began at the side door of the country club, went down a long concrete walk (actually the golf cart path), along the aisle between all of our guests' seats, and ended next to the Reverend, looking out over the hills. The day had suddenly warmed up, and the sun was shining in a brilliant clear blue sky. Our friend Ian and his girlfriend Anna had volunteered to play the violin and piano; we walked in to Bach's "Air", and it was exactly as I'd imagined. Dave's father Fred, who was also the best man, led the procession with Dave's grandmother. Next were Dave and his Mom, followed by my Mom with my brother Pete. Brian, my man of honor, walked in alone. Dad and I waited for a few extra seconds, then made our entrance, and I didn't miss a beat in my 6-1/2" heels, haha.

It was weird feeling walking between all of those people. I knew that they were only our family and friends, but somehow it felt like a group of strangers watching me. I caught the eyes of a couple of friends, my boss, my cousin, and realized it was because I was different that they seemed different. They were all smiling at me, but there was a look in their eyes that was unfamiliar, as if they were trying to recognize me, and reconcile this event in their own minds. I was finally able to focus in on Dave, and he was there at the front smiling at me, looking a bit nervous to be in front of all of these people, just like I felt.

Dad and I made our way to the front, and the Reverend came out in front of us to begin the ceremony. Dad stood between Dave and I, where the Reverend would normally stand, and waited for instructions. We had told the Reverend that we wanted to have a spiritual service, not specifically
geared toward any religion, that included prayer, but we had not gotten any more specific. We really had no idea what he was planning!

The Reverend welcomed everyone in a rambling sort of way, including talking about his experiences with other weddings and couples. He was definitely an odd little man, and at first, people looked uncertain as to whether they were allowed to laugh or not. Dave and I were worried that people wouldn't be as amused by his strange ways as we were, but eventually everyone relaxed and went with the flow. The Reverend finally told my father he could give me away, and Dad shook Dave's hand and said, "Good luck!", which got a great laugh from the crowd. He gave me a kiss, and then sat down with my mother in the front row.

Again, the Reverend began capering about, telling stories about how when he met Dave and I, we had talked about how much fun we had together, and how important that was. From the distant hills, we could suddenly hear the sound of shotgun blasts. Everyone looked shocked, but Dave and I started laughing
. A Catskills wedding wouldn't be complete without gunfire! As the Reverend continued, my father was red-faced and hysterical in the front row, proclaiming, "This is the best wedding I've ever been to!"

Finally, we reached the point where Dave and I would declare our own vows. Knowing that I was worried about it, Dave agreed to go first. I hadn't actually written anything down, figuring I would just take my cue from what he said, and speak naturally. Dave talked about making me happy, having fun together, and commented that he hoped to make others happy by eventually having
children, to which my mother loudly responded, "Thank God!" I spoke in much the same way, talking about how I was excited to share every experience with each other, and even when we were apart, I couldn't wait to tell him about whatever had happened. It was all very simple, and personal, and unrehearsed. Many guests came up to us later and told us that they had been touched by our vows, which we were amused by, given that we had made them up on the spot.

Next, we exchanged rings, which went smoothly except for Dave trying to put my ring on the wrong finger! I guess that is something we should have rehearsed. The Reverend began to wrap up the ceremony by discussing our family and friends' roles in our marriage, and then closed with an Apache Blessing:

Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.

Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two bodies,
But there is one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Aunt Linda, my mother's sister, had recently completed our family tree, and discovered that we had a decent amount of Native American heritage. She was completely blown away by this unprompted inclusion, and many people could not stop talking about how perfect it was. It is actually a rather commonly used blessing at non-denominational weddings nowadays, but that didn't make it any less beautiful to us.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Today, I give it all...

On the day of our wedding, I woke up around nine o'clock, told Mom to stay in bed for as long as she wanted, and started pulling together some last minute details. Seating chart in hand, I ran over to the country club to set up the table name signs. While I was there, Dad wandered in to say hello on his way to breakfast, and then I ran into Dave. Haha, so much for not seeing each other! Everyone else headed to the breakfast buffet, but I ran down to Margaretville to pick up the things I had forgotten, like lip gloss. On my way back, I got a call from the friend that was doing my hair and makeup, saying that she was on her way. So far, everything was right on schedule.

I ran into Mom on her way to get breakfast as I walked into the hotel, s
o I had the suite to myself for a little while. I went over all of the details quickly, to see if we'd forgotten anything, but it all seemed to be in place. So, feeling awfully calm considering, I hung out on the couch with a book for a while. At one point, the maid came in to make the beds, and was laughing at me about how easygoing I was. Eventually, Mom came back from breakfast, and Erin arrived to do my hair and makeup. She did an amazing job, and then we just hung out waiting for the photographer to arrive. I suddenly realized that we hadn't marked the favor boxes to indicate which person took home the centerpieces, like we had planned to do, so we called Brian's fiance Melissa up to the room and asked her to take care of it by writing an M on the bottom of one box at each table. (A bunch of us had gotten together at Mom's house a couple of weeks before to put together the favors. Aunt Marsha complained that all of the ones she did were terrible, and we had joked that we would put an M on the bottom of all of hers, so that everyone would know who to blame.)

The photographer had a slight equipment issue that morning, and so was a little bit late, but everything was fine. Once she was there and ready, we were able to get my dress and shoes on. Everything came together perfectly, and my 6-1/2" heels were just the right height for the dress, even though everyone who saw them thought I was insane. We brought Brian in for some initial shots with me, and took a couple with Mom, and then the flowers arrived. My bouquet was made up of all different shades of red roses, and a few Stephanotis mixed in for contrast. I knew that trying to match the red in my dress would never work, so I showed the florist a picture of my gown, and they did a fantastic job finding lots of different shades.

Finally, we were all ready, and set off downstairs to take formal shots with our families. Dave was right outside our door when I walked out, and the look on his face when he saw me all done up was priceless. We were breaking tradition by seeing each other before the wedding to take pictures, but (as some of my family members had rudely pointed out many times in the past) we had been "living in sin" for three and a half years anyway. After some cute wedding party pictures with the golf cart that had been provided for us, we went around to the back of the hotel for some formal photos with the woods as the background. Dave's mother, stepfather, sister, and brother-in-law had not come up the night before for the rehearsal dinner, and were quite late arriving for pictures, so we did not get as many pictures with them as we would have liked. However, standing around waiting for them produced some great candid shots of those of us that were there.

Everyone went their separate ways to get ready for the ceremony, and I went back up to our suite to kill some time. Dad and Pete settled in on the couch to watch some television, while Brian hung around waiting for me to tell him what to do. Eventually, I asked Mom to get the guys to leave, and she found things for them to do. She and I sat out on the balcony, smoked a few cigarettes, watched the guests arrive and find seats, and tried to relax. Dad came back to tell us that the aunt, uncle, and cousin that had backed out at the last minute were there, and I scrambled to re-seat them at tables and find their place cards. We got everything taken care of, then everyone was ready, and Mom and Dad escorted me over the little wooden bridge to the country club.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

...Within Its Usual Frame

October was a very busy month, and I really haven't had any time to write, so now I'll try to catch up. Too many things went on to just skip it all! I've included a couple of random pictures from the Bridal Shower as well...

Wednesday, October 1, was my last night at the Junkyard as a "single" woman. Of course, having been with Dave for well over six years, it's more true to say that I have never been a "single" woman during Wednesday Night Drinking. Dave and I were supposed to pick up my man-of-honor Brian and his fiance Melissa at Newark Airport after work, but their scheduled flight out of Nashville, TN, was delayed, so they hopped an earlier flight that came into JFK Airport. There was no way for us to get through the city and back again at any reasonable hour, so they took the train to Ramsey, NJ, and I picked them up. While I was out, Dave ran over to the mall and picked up his and Brian's tuxedos, and we all met back at the house. After a quick try-on session, the guys went out and got us some pizza for dinner, then we cleaned ourselves up and went out. Brian and Melissa enjoyed the bar and the band, and got to meet a few of our friends there.

They were up early in the morning to meet with a priest about their upcoming wedding, and Dave and I headed over to the
Ramapo Courthouse to fill out our marriage certificate. Dave had called in advance to find out what identification we needed, and was told that a driver's license and social security card were required. He didn't have a social security card, so he brought his brand-new passport instead, hoping it would work. Of course, when we arrived there and spoke with the clerk, she expected us to both have two forms of photo ID, completely different from what the woman had said on the phone. We convinced her to accept my social security card, but it was hilarious. Next, we packed up our stuff, said good-bye to the puppies, and headed up to the Catskills. My parents, Brian and Melissa eventually met us up there, and we had some dinner and relaxed. Mom gave me a silver bangle bracelet to wear as my something borrowed; Dad had given it to her on their wedding day. Dad gave me an Indian Head penny as something old, without knowing the part of the tradition about a penny in the shoe. Before we went to bed, Mom was nice enough to write out the names on all of the place cards for me.

Since Dad has to turn the television on at roughly six o'clock in the morning, even if the
re are guests sleeping on the living room couch, we were all up pretty early on Friday. Mom and I went over to Diamond Deb's Nail Salon, Tanning, and Used Cars for a manicure and pedicure, where everyone kept telling me that I was the calmest bride they had ever seen. By that point, I felt like everything was already done, and it was just up to all of our vendors to do it right, and the weather to be on our side. Most of Friday was rainy and cold, but in the afternoon the sun came out.

I decided to call my boss and see how everything was going at work. I had been expecting a package to arrive be
fore we headed to the Catskills, and when it hadn't, I had left my boss instructions to overnight it to me at the country club. When I called, I found out that the package had arrived the day before, but for some reason, he had not sent it out. The package was the garter belt that I needed to hold up my stockings, so although not extremely important, I would be pretty uncomfortable without it. This is the only time the entire day that I got upset, feeling just so disappointed that this couldn't have been worked out. My dad suggested we call my brother Pete and find out where he was, and it turned out he wasn't very far away from my job (or at least, that's what they told me) and could stop by to pick it up. We all packed up our stuff and checked into the hotel at the country club where the wedding was being held, and waited for everyone to get settled. Pete drove my cousins Melody and Jesse, who were in town from St. Louis, up to the trailer, then headed over to the hotel. Not long after, Dave's dad showed up with Dave's grandmother and her companion Larry.

The next snag was a voicemail that my father received on his cell phone, saying that an aunt, uncle, and cousin would suddenly not be able to attend. Everyone was very upset, but I just felt like we would make everything work no matter what, so I wasn't going to stress about it. I quickly pulled their place cards and subtracted them from the seating chart.

We all got a little spiffied up and met in the country club for a short rehearsal with the minister. We quickly went over where we would enter, and the order of the procession, but didn't discuss very much about the ceremony itself, other than who would stand where. It was only about a half hour later than the time the wedding ceremony would be held, but it was very cold, and we were nervous about the next day. Throughout the evening, I pulled aside Brian, my brother, my mother, and my father individually, and gave them each the gifts that I had chosen. I thought it would be more personal and heartfelt that way, instead of in front of everyone during the rehearsal dinner itself. I had different bracelets for Mom, Brian, and Pete, and embroidered handkerchiefs for Dad. Next, we headed to the Andes Hotel in Andes, NY where we had a long, lazy dinner. It was nice and relaxed, and everything was yummy. When we left there, it was very cold out, and we were dreading the outdoor ceremony the next day. Back at the hotel, I wrote up the signs for the tables, and put table names on all of the place cards. Dave spent Friday night in his dad's room, and Mom slept in our room.